Americas

Sharia trial of Iranian billionaire:

An Iranian trial and execution raised questions about corruption at high levels in various countries. Reports said that Mahafarid Amir Khosravi, a billionaire businessman was executed in a prison, North of Tehran for being involved in a $2.6 billion state bank scam, the largest fraud case since 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran. The public in America, Britain and other European countries reacted with surprisingly many comments on social media platform. They wish such a harsh punishment for their nations in order to deal with corruption amongst politician and businessmen.

Gassner's picture

Relaunch IslamicFinance.de Newsletter - Free Download

Dear Reader,

On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of IslamicFinance.de please find at the hyperlink below the relaunch of the newsletter.

http://www.islamicfinance.de/files/20140529%20IslamicFinance%20dot%20de%...

Any new issues will be announced to our registered users of IslamicFinance.de and to the members of the related LinkedIn Group of IslamicFinance.de.

If you wish to register please go to http://www.islamicfinance.de/?q=newsletter/subscriptions or become member of the LinkedIn Group: http://www.linkedin.com/groups?mostRecent=&gid=147616&trk=my_groups-tile...

Enjoy reading! And if you do, please consider sharing the free newsletter with your friends & colleagues by forwarding or subscribing an internal email address to forward it your entire firm.

NB: I appreciate feedback to improve the content and better understand what readers are looking for. Please allow time for reply, which I may not be able to give to all enquiries after sending out the newsletter.

All the best,

Michael Saleh Gassner

Worldwide study shows religious investors can ally faith and finance

Religious investors, in economic terms the third largest group to invest on the world’s stock markets, can post high placement profits and remain faithful to their religious creed. This is the message of the third biennial world report on religious investors, the only report of its kind.

The report highlights the profile of religious investors who respect this balance and thus can have a major influence on company ethics:
- Their principles of faith can serve as a road map for investment choices;
- By nature, these investors have a long-term view which is key to the notion of responsible investment;
- They can call on the support of what is often a worldwide community;
- They have set up networks that offer the chance to work together on stakeholder actions and therefore increase their impact.

Even though a certain number of religious organisations invest responsibly and use their role as shareholder-activists to promote change this sort of profile is far from the majority.

Islamic Finance has a Huge Potential in North America

Islamic finance, banking, and takaful has a large potential in the US and Canada despite several setbacks and various obstacles and hurdles. In terms of the United States, a 100% truly Shariáh compliant takaful company may not be possible at this time in the USA as many states have limited investment of collected premiums to non-Shariáh compliant investment grade rated bonds. However, the US has seen two major sukuk issuances and there is a large potential for further sukuk. In terms of Canada, there have been no sukuk issuances and there are no Islamic banks. The only positive ruling for Islamic finance in Canada thus far has been the permission of Islamic mortgages under Canadian law. Aside from constitutional hurdles and the lack of regulations and laws, which permit Islamic banking in North America, many people have a fear of Islam and the words Shariáh and Islamic.

CIFA Retail Finance Specialist Course, 11-13 June 2014 Chicago

Course overview:

- Enable participants to apply the principles of Islamic finance
- ExamiEnable participants to apply the principles of Islamic finance
- Examine in detail the different Islamic retail banking products offered by Islamic banks in
various jurisdictions including depository and wealth management solutions.
- Analyze different product structures, and other business related issues - regulatory, legal,
marketing and implementation challenges in the US market.
- Compare and contrast the various Islamic products with their conventional financial
equivalents
- At the end of the course, delegates will have a comprehensive understanding of the different
tools applied by Islamic banks to finance retail consumer needs, and will be able to structure
different solutions that are suitable for the US market.
- The course will use discussions, team exercises, and case studies to ensure delegates learn by
doing.ne in detail the different Islamic retail banking products offered by Islamic banks in
various jurisdictions including depository and wealth management solutions.
- Analyze different product structures, and other business related issues - regulatory, legal,

Sustainability Accounting Standards Board Names Michael Bloomberg as Chair

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mary Schapiro have taken up leadership positions with the Sustainable Accounting Standards Board (SASB). Bloomberg has been named as board chair and Schapiro as vice-chair of the organization. SASB was launched publicly less than two years ago. The San Francisco-based nonprofit provides an industry-specific reporting framework for crucial sustainability issues that integrates with the companies’ quarterly 10-K financial disclosures, which are required by the SEC. SASB is working on reporting guidelines for 88 industries across 10 sectors.

REFILE-London-based RiverCrossing debuts with Islamic real estate fund

London-based RiverCrossing Capital Partners, a new Islamic investment firm, has launched its first product, a U.S. real estate fund, as part of a plan to offer non-traditional asset classes to institutional investors in the Gulf. The firm will develop asset-based funds with a non-cyclical nature, chairman Mohammed Abdulmalik said. RiverCrossing's first fund will have a target investment horizon of five years and focus on medical offices, self-storage facilities and senior and student housing in the United States, he added. RiverCrossing aims to raise $45 million in the first tranche of its Alternative Real Estate U.S. Fund this quarter, reaching a total of $125 million with a second tranche in the next 12 to 18 months.

First Halal, US fixed-income mutual fund celebrates 4th anniversary

The Azzad Wise Capital Fund, America's first Halal, socially responsible fixed-income mutual fund, turned four years old this month. Falls Church, Virginia-based Azzad Asset Management launched the interest-free fund in 2010. Over its four-year history, the Azzad Wise Capital Fund has proven to be an diversification and income-generating tool for investors who observe the Islamic law. Although it does not deal with debt instruments created from interest-based lending, the Azzad Wise Capital Fund shares in the gains from its ventures, which include Islamic bank deposits and Sukuk. Bashar Qasem, Azzad President and CEO, started Azzad Asset Management in 1997. In 2000, Qasem and his colleagues oversaw the launch of the Azzad Ethical Fund, and ultimately created the Azzad Wise Capital Fund to diversify client accounts.

UAE’s Souq.com raises $75m – Investment Round Up

Dubai-based Souq.com, an Arab e-commerce site, has secured a $75 million investment from Naspers, a South African media organization. Besides, Silent Herdsman, which produces wearables for cows, has received £3M ($4.9 million) in funding. Moreover, Waltham, MA-based Actifio, which provides copy data virtualization to customers, has gained $100 million in an oversubscribed investment round. Software defined storage company Amplidata has realized an $11 million investment led by Intel Capital and Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC has pumped about $63 million into U.K.-based energy tech company Intelligent Energy Holdings. Moreover, there have been several Mergers & Acquisitions, including Palo Alto Networks buying cybersecurity startup Cyvera.

CBN, IFC To Host 2014 International Sustainable Banking Forum In Lagos

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) have announced plans to host the second International Sustainable Banking Forum in Lagos from March 3 to March 4. The forum will serve as a platform to share experience and build partnerships for sustainable banking in emerging markets. It is to attract policy makers from governments, multilateral development banks, financial institutions, civil society organisations and technical institutions. The IFC said that sustainable banking helped banks and financial institutions to understand better the benefits and risks of environmental and social impacts of their investments and loans.

Sharia and start-up struggles

Building a start-up as an observant Muslim in Philadelphia presents unique challenges, from identifying financial practices acceptable under sharia law to deciding whether and how to compromise on selling forbidden wares such as pork, lottery tickets, and alcohol. But it also presents unique opportunities. Among them could be a market for the region's first Muslim credit union. The U.S. lags far behind other countries when it comes to the Islamic-finance sector. Only a handful of American banks have begun offering sharia-compliant home mortgages. A credit union could assist with many of the financial needs of Muslims in the USA.

Anti-Terrorism Legislation and Impact in Cross Border Giving

INVITATION TO A RESEARCH INQUIRY
Anti-Terrorism Legislation and Impact in Cross Border Giving

The World Congress of Muslim Philanthropy’s Academy of Philanthropy is leading a research inquiry in collaboration with Cass Business School’s Centre for Charity Effectiveness. After London and Doha, the last of the three dialogues will take place in New York.

This concerns the barriers to giving for international development and relief that affect donors and recipients alike, in the light of continuing international agreements and practices enshrined in legislation. Our work is seeking to identify ways forward for international dialogues to best support and enhance accountable giving and its efficient flow between nations. The findings of the research will be reported to the WCMP’s biennial Global Donor’s Forum, to be held in Washington, DC from April 14-16, 2014.

Donors, nonprofit and development sector representatives, and financial institution executives are welcomed to participate in the dialogue and share their experiences and offer suggestions.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014 - 10.00 am to 4.00 pm
Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Observer Mission to the UN

JPMorgan Said to Drop Saudi Bank Al-Rajhi Amid Controls Push

JPMorgan Chase & Co. dropped Al- Rajhi Bank, the world’s largest Shariah-compliant lender, as a correspondent banking client amid a push to improve risk controls. The relationship with the bank ended Dec. 31 because JPMorgan couldn’t get enough information on where payments in dollar-clearing services for Al-Rajhi had originated. JPMorgan said it cut off the service to about 500 foreign lenders last year as regulators press the world’s biggest banks to verify that transactions are used for legitimate business. The crackdown seeks to halt funds tied to money laundering, terrorism and countries covered by economic sanctions. The two banks haven’t been cited by U.S. regulators for involvement in illegal money transfers.

Charges laid in UM FINANCIAL Bankruptcy Investigation

The RCMP's GTA Financial Crime Unit in collaboration with the Ontario Region Special Investigation Unit of the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy (OSB), have charged two Toronto area men with offences under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act (BIA) and the Criminal Code (CC). Omar Farooq KALAIR, age 38, of Toronto and Yusuf PANCHBHAYA, age 55, of Mississauga have been charged individually and jointly with several offences, like fraud and theft among others. The charges are in relation to events surrounding the November 2011 bankruptcies of UM CAPITAL INC. and UM FINANCIAL INC. of Toronto. The allegations relate to the misappropriation of approximately $ 4.3 million in mortgage payments, the purchase & disappearance of 32kgs of gold bars, and the abuse of the bankruptcy process.

US' biggest Islamic fund to launch first plan here

US-based Islamic stock fund manager Saturna Capital Corp is selling its first plan in Malaysia, betting that Southeast Asian equities will weather a global emerging-market rout. The company, which has US$4.1 billion (RM13.6 billion) of assets under management globally, wants to raise RM100 million in the Malaysian fund's first year. The vehicle will invest in syariah-compliant companies in the region, focusing on building-material, healthcare and consumer stocks. The new ringgit-denominated fund will target local and overseas high net worth individuals and institutional investors. The outlook for Islamic fund management in Malaysia is still good, after a constant growth at an average rate of 25 per cent a year since 2009.

Gassner's picture

How to achieve a soft landing of a deleveraging, while growing economy?

For many years we see in the media experts believing in inflation and even hyper inflation. However, in the same time we face proponents warning against deflation. So far we all noticed.

Only a about a week ago I read an article by Myret Zaki clarifying that unfortunately inflation and deflation co-exists.

Myret Zaki's thesis is that we face inflation on financial markets, and deflation in the real economy (in French):

http://www.bilan.ch/myret-zaki/redaction-bilan/inflation-et-deflation-co...

In my view there is a general major shift in the price matrix and I still try to figure the magnitude and implications thereof. It is a bit irritating as at University we learned about neutrality of money:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neutrality_of_money

This means any extra supply will increase prices equally, 5 % more money, all prices going up 5 %. Pretty plausible at first hand. However, it seems it does not work in reality any more (or never did).

ADEP initiates Brazil's first Shari'ah compliant livestock finance programme for $25 million

Abu Dhabi Equity Partners (ADEP) has successfully initiated Brazil's first Shari’ah-compliant livestock finance programme of $25 million, to fund fattening of 70,000 cattle heads - the metric tonne equivalent of entire U.A.E.'s annual import of beef. ADEP's Brazilian Shari’ah livestock transaction allows a select group of Brazil's "Top 40" cattle feedlot operators to increase their capacity utilization. The financing was structured as a combination of Wakala and Murabaha agreements enabling investors to buy and take title from Rancher, of liquidly traded cattle, insured and stored physically in separate feedlots inspected and supervised by a global monitoring company. Shari’ah-compliant funding of the growing multi-billion US Dollar Halal food industry is a natural yet untapped market segment.

Iran to assemble group for arresting ex-head of Bank Melli Iran

A special group of police officers will be assembled and sent to Canada for searching and arresting the former head of Bank Melli Iran, Mahmoud Reza Khavari. Since Canadian officials haven't found Khavari yet, Iranian police are asking for one week in order to search for him in Canada. The fraud case originally started in 2007 and involved the use of fraudulent documents to obtain credit for an investment company. Khavari, as the head of Bank Melli Iran, was reportedly involved in the fraud case. However, Khavari escaped to Canada. Iran requested Interpol to announce an international search for him. In June of 2012, Fars news agency reported that Interpol placed Khavari on its Red Notice Wanted list.

Cash-rich Islamic banks seek to invest in Western businesses

Cash-rich Islamic lenders are looking to partner with Western businesses that comply with Islamic law, according to a report by The New York Times. The report said there aren't enough acceptable places for Islamic banks to pour their money in, leading American investment bankers to put deals together. Real estate is a popular investment under Shariah since an agreement can be made without requiring interest payments. However, as the banks expand, they are looking to make more diversified investments. One of investments being studied by Islamic banks is that of Continental Rail, a business that focuses on running freight trains up and down the East Coast. If the cars are found to be halal, then it will be one of the first in the US to be completed following Islamic law.

EIIB-Rasmala launches Islamic trade finance fund

EIIB-Rasmala, a venture between London-based European Islamic Investment Bank and Dubai's Rasmala Group, has launched a sharia-compliant trade finance fund as a low-risk investment product. The Cayman-domiciled fund is linked to emerging market trade transactions and the firm hopes to attract $100 million into the fund over the coming year. The fund targets a return of 4 percent with low volatility as the firm continues to expand its sharia-compliant product range. Since last year, EIIB-Rasmala has launched three Islamic funds including a leasing fund and a sukuk fund seeded with $25 million of the company's own capital.

Syndicate content